by Ian Conner
Publication date: June 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire. Over the centuries, she created other vampires. There are also those that she left for dead but survived her attack without being completely turned into vampires. These survivors are called Cardinals. Scottish Countess Kellena Donnachaidh and Lady Suzette Allard, our protagonists, are among these cardinals. They are searching out Asherah for a final conflict.
Asherah has discovered a way back to heaven so she can exact her vengeance. Using the Amulet of Cassiel she can call the Flaming chariot of Israel to return to heaven and exact her revenge on God.
Now, 3000 years later, the Vatican and other groups are working to destroy Asherah and the vampires., fearing their own destruction if she ascends, simply want to stop Asherah using the Amulet of Cassiel to re-enter heaven. The race and intrigue to recover the Amulet is full of intrigue, betrayal.
A completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.
Shortly after, Yasmeen finished her call with Sharit, first-class boarded. Another round of the third degree at the gate and she was finally shown to her seat. The first-class flight attendant was Lebanese.
“Traveling can be such a trial for us these days,” she said.
The flight attendant returned with a large glass of orange juice.
“That is a beautiful niqāb!” she said, admiring the gold and lace.
“Thank you. That’s most kind and thank you for this,” motioning to the juice. “I’m famished.”
“We’ll serve dinner once we reach altitude. Enjoy your flight. I’m Nalia Khoury. Buzz me if you need anything at all.”
Yasmeen thanked her in Lebanese. Bringing smiles to both their faces. She took out a laptop and continued reading about the Scottish woman. The file was extensive. She started over at the beginning again. She frowned.
“Born 1283 AD.” she whispered.
Math was never her strong suit; lazily she used the computer’s calculator function.
Seven-hundred-forty years, nothing compared to Sharit’s two and half eons, but still impressive. she thought.
She stood suddenly, angrily turning to find a white-haired man staring at her. Yasmeen wished mightily her khopesh was at her side.
“Who is this guy?” she said to herself.
A plane was no place for a brawl. She knew.
“That explains the smirk on his face.” she said, yawning. Her privacy curtain closed. A moment later, there was a knock on her chair by the flight attendant.
“Is everything alright?” her new Lebanese friend asked.
“It seems I have gained a stalker.” Yasmeen looked back at the white-haired man.
“Hmmm, not our first complaint about him. Wait one moment.”
She disappeared into coach and a minute later she returned with what appeared to be an Air Marshall. They stopped at the white-haired man’s seat.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to come with me to coach for the rest of the flight, then to security when we land.” the Marshall said.
“But I didn’t…”
“We can do it the easy way or the hard way.” The Marshall told the white-haired man, flashing his cuffs at him. Blondie knew when he was beaten. He glared at the flight attendant and looked toward Yasmeen’s seat.
“Pal, she is not the problem. You keep your eyes back there. Don’t be giving her any dirty looks for doing her job. Go!” the Marshall said tersely.
After they left, the attendant shrugged her shoulder at Yasmeen, then returned to where Yasmeen was sitting.
“See, easy as pie. No more loutish behavior from him.”
“Thank you.” Yasmeen touched the attendant’s hand.
“Really, I appreciate you heading off trouble.”
“That’s one less goon to. I have to be nice, too. I hope you like steak. I’ll be back soon.” Nalia told her.
Yasmeen was truly relieved that the attendant headed off the confrontation. Sometimes her temper got the better of her. She gave up on reading and waited for dinner service. The smell of the meal filled the cabin. The attendant was right. The steak was excellent and the smell of the meal filled the cabin.
“Thank you, Nalia. That was a much-needed distraction.”
The attendant’s eyes lit up when Yasmeen used her name and she flashed a brilliant smile, too. Yasmeen was finally noticing how very attractive she was. Later, she came by after dinner.
“Are you staying in London or connecting?” she asked.
“I live there.”
“Oh, how wonderful! I have another three-day layover after this flight.” Nalia said with her brightest smile.
“Perhaps we could…” Nalia left the sentence unfinished.
Yasmeen smiled back just as brightly. The possibilities behind that unfinished sentence improved her mood substantially.
“I have some work when I land, but later I could meet you. Where are you staying?”
Nalia removed a slip of paper from her blouse pocket, placed it in Yasmeen’s hand, and then gently closed her fingers around it.
“I look forward to it.”
Yasmeen enjoyed the rest of her meal. Nalia visited several more times as Yasmeen read Kellena Donnachaidh’s files. Each time, Nalia found somehow to brush against Yasmeen. Be it a simple touch of the hand or reaching across Yasmeen. Each contact was like a jolt of electricity, destroying her concentration. It was like a game for Nalia.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re beginning our descent to Heathrow,” The Captain announced.
Yasmeen was so flustered by Nalia’s scent and touch that by the time that announcement was made she snapped her laptop shut and surrendered. She could remember nothing she read, only the scent of Nalia and the feeling of Nalia’s breasts brushing against her arms. Yasmeen took out her cellphone and called her boss.
“Is there anything you need from me after I arrive at Heathrow?” she asked Sharit Hagel.
“Why, Yasmeen Obiad, have you found a pleasant diversion?” Sharit asked.
“Diverting is exactly the word that I would use.”
Nalia looked directly at Yasmeen and rubbed her fingers together in a tsk, tsk manner, scolding her for using her phone as they landed. She smiled, laughing. Yasmeen smiled back as she explained to Sharit she would not be coming in when she landed.
“Describe diverting,” Sharit told her.
“Lebanese, 5’3, high cheekbones, cute as hell, smart, courteous, beautiful…”
“Alright, alright” Sharit interrupted. “There’s nothing so important it can’t wait until Wednesday. Be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Wednesday morning, 10:00 a.m.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Yasmeen said excitedly.
Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Issabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.
Conner has authored other novels The Price of Partisanship, The Long Game, Coopers Ridge, Solaris, Cardinals and Ghost Witch.
After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal. He found art cathartic and a way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.
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One Reply to “Book Blitz & Excerpt: Cardinals + Giveaway”
Looks like a fun read.